The Department of Education and Science provides the software…

July 1, 2010

The Department of Education and Science provides the software and training for teachers.
So far the department has sent 7000 teachers on computer courses and reckons to train 50 000 teachers by the end of this year.
The DES has nevertheless been criticised for not giving enough training to teachers and for not providing adequate computer programs for the classroom.
At present the department has a library of some 400 pieces of educational software.
But the Department of Industry recently threw £ million into the ring in an effort to get firms to adapt their software for use in schools. The schools meanwhile have been critical of the hardware on offer.
Both the BBC microcomputer and the Spectrum have been plagued by delays and faults.
The Inner London Education Authority, in a circular to schools and says that the computers on offer to primary schools are “in many respects inadequate”. The Sinclair Spectrum came in for particular criticism.
Its keyboard design was “not easy to use” and the ease of damaging the machine coupled with the cost of repairs meant that a “relatively short life should be expected”. The ILEA recommended the Research Machines 380Z or 480Z.
John Lamb
Keeping the weather eyes open
WESTERN EUROPE is to decide this month on a series of satellites that will provide data for weather forecasts until well into the 1990s.
But the nations are worried by a threat from the US to reduce its own weather satellites This could hit plans, particularly in Britain and to expand meteorological services.
The world relies for much of its weather data on a network of satellites, which are either stationed in a fixed position above the equator or which travel over the poles to scan the globe.
The craft are owned by the US, Japan, USSR and the 11-nation European Space Agency (ESA). The countries swap data freely.
This permits them to build up a picture of how the weather is changing virtually anywhere on Earth.
But a dark cloud hangs over the future of the data-swapping arrangement , which is coordinated by the World Meteorological Office of the United Nations.
First, Meteosat, ESA’s contribution to the satellite network, is near retiring age and will stop sending information next year.
After that and there could be a gap of at least three years during which the European nations will play no part in satellite meteorology.
To decide on craft that will fill the gap from 1987 onwards, leading west European nations are meeting in Paris on 2123 March.
They are considering setting up an organisation called Eumetsat to plan three new satellites that will cost £250 million over eight years.
The new craft like the existing Meteosat, would be positioned in geostationary orbit above Africa.

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